THE ROAD TRIP
This year we’ll be taking a chronological journey
through the issues, events, and themes that made the 20th Century
“the American Century”- including American arts and popular culture.
We’ll examine James Baldwin’s claim:
"American history is longer, larger,
more diverse, more various,
more beautiful, and more terrible
than anything anyone has ever said about it.”
Can you handle something so beautiful and so terrible?
How will this journey make you feel?
We’ll use a variety of resources, activities, assignments, and assessment, including:
• research and inquiry
• film, video, theater, and music
• student-directed discussion and Socratic seminars
• creative projects integrated with literature and the arts
However, the basis for all of these activities is analytical reading
and writing. You must keep up with the reading in order to succeed
in the other elements - including the creative projects.
Texts: The Americans and additional reading from a wide variety of sources.
History is not about the past. History is about your life right now -
your environment, your culture, your values, your assumptions, your expectations, your dreams - in relationship to the past and the future.
History is not dead language. It’s alive in our literature, in art, in music,
in our culture. It’s alive in news of events in the Middle East and around the world.
History lives in us. My hope for each of you is that you experience
the meaning of this statement by developing historical consciousness,
learning to think more critically and more creatively.
4 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO KEEP ASKING ALL YEAR
1. How has belief in our manifest destiny shaped U.S. history and
our role in the world today?
2. What is the significance of immigration and migration in U.S.
history, society, and culture?
3. What are you learning about the relationships among political,
economic, and social issues, cultural values, the arts, and literature?
4. How do the contrasts and contradictions seen in each of the eras
we study challenge your thinking and develop your historical
consciousness, and how can they enrich your understanding of
what it means to live in America?